Small Business Saturday U.K., the annual campaign to promote shopping locally, took place this past weekend. With indie bookshops reopening Wednesday in England after a nearly month in lockdown, there were many reasons to celebrate, even during trying times.
"Today is Saturday and we are a small business. Therefore it is, as it is every week #SmallBusinessSaturday, but this week we get to piggy back on the annual promotion @SmallBizSatUK so come along everyone #shoplocal, @1totallylocally, @LocallyStockton," Drake the Bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees tweeted.
At Bookbugs and Dragon Tales in Norwich, "not only did we finally beat our opening day 'best day ever' we smashed it! Truly wonderful day that deserved a #HappyBooksellerDance. We're exhausted but thrilled to have put so many books into your hands. Thank you everyone, not just for today but for everything you've done to support our silliness throughout. We feel buoyant and like a corner has been turned in the last few months. Across the country other indie bookshops have been reporting a similar story since we all reopened on Wednesday. Whether it's the support local message, the importance of community, the love of discovering books in a friendly place, or just that there are some amazing books available right now it's making us booksellers love our jobs so much more and want to find new ways to be better at it. You're all awesome. Enjoy our happy dance. It had to be sped up because we were pathetically tired."
Also in a celebratory mood was Pigeon Books, Southsea: "What a lovely surprise on #smallbusinesssaturday to have been nominated for Best Small Shop 2020! Thank you to our wonderful customers for voting for us and @stephenmorganmp for being such a champion for indie businesses in Portsmouth."
French booksellers are leading a "groundswell of resistance against Amazon's marketplace dominance," inews.co.uk reported, adding that the "resistance became fiercer during the lockdowns as bookshops closed but Amazon's business soared." Pushback includes a petition for a #NoëlSansAmazon (Christmas without Amazon) that has been backed by politicians such as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
François Jousseaume, owner of Librairie Jousseaume in Paris, said, "Amazon is an octopus. They take over everything. They eat up every online bookseller. We'll just end up working for them.... When people come here, they don't know what to expect. There is a shiver of discovery. But Amazon is a perversion of bookselling. They sell anything: books, brooms, sausages, it does not matter."
Danielle Cillien Sabatier, general manager at Librairie Galignani, which was founded in 1801, said Amazon is "a service. They have nothing to do with bookshops. It would be like David and Goliath. But what I find shocking is that they do not pay taxes.... We can offer something that Amazon's algorithms cannot. We work in the old way, talking to publishers, writers and customers. We have a certain depth."
At Librairie L'Ecume des Pages, bookseller Julien Doussinault said: "We're not scared of Amazon. But we don't like what they do. This is not about online sales--everyone does online sales." Doussinault takes issue with Amazon's previous run-ins with tax authorities, including in France, describing the company's behavior as "disgusting."
Nicolas Wanstok, owner of Les Mots à la Bouche, called Amazon "a negative force.... What is hardest to swallow is the speed. It gives people a sense of magic deliveries. But there are people here working at the shop. Humans. The bookshop matters."
On Saturday, Love Books, Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrated Festive shopping day, noting on Facebook: "A general all-round festive day happening at The Bamboo Centre tomorrow. At Love Books it's 10% off for the day. Books make the best gifts, especially after a year like 2020. From sportsmen to philosophers, economists to historians, artists to travelers, cooks to bush lovers, toddlers to teens, you will find something for everyone on your gift list. #festiveshoppingday"
Cool idea of the day: "Socially-Distanced Mistletoe." British bookseller Kenilworth Books posted: "We've a tradition of hanging mistletoe outside the bookshop, and we didn't want to break it. So this year we have two bunches of mistletoe, 2 meters apart. No actual kissing of strangers please. Socially distanced 'Mwah's only." --Robert Gray